Oakland Unified Warned: Make Cuts or Else

The Oakland Unified School District must cut tens of millions of dollars out of its budget within the next four years or risk coming back under state control. That was the blunt message delivered last week by Michael Fine, head of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), and Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Karen Monroe during a meeting with school district leaders.

“Whether you accept this assistance or not,” Fine said, referring to a bailout that is being offered to the district, “you must get your financial house in order.”

The funds would help offset part of the 2019-20 through 2021-22 deficit, but there are strings attached. These include school closures and staffing reductions mandated by the county and state.

The district is already considering $16.5 million in cuts next year via the elimination of staff positions and central services, reduced energy costs, and more. But the effort can’t stop there. The district needs to slash costs by $30 million next year and by $60 million come 2020-21.

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